Even Social Media companies don’t get Social Media

Lisa Barone on the Outspoken Media blog recently took Comcast to task for not using Social Media effectively in her article Twitter Won’t Make You Suck Less. Ask Comcast. She made some great points, and even though I didn’t agree 100% with Comcast’s failures, I absolutely agree that companies need to be active in Social Media, and not just passively react to angry customers.

Interestingly, one of the companies that defines Social Media, Facebook, is currently doing just that. You may have read about the big change Facebook made to their home page recently, and how their users have reacted. Once current group named “We will change it back if 1,000,000 people hate the new switch” has over 524,000 members. Facebook has 300 Million active members, so 1/2 a million isn’t a huge number, but I sure wish I had 500,000 members I could piss off an ignore.

My point isn’t about if Facebook was right or wrong, if the change was good or bad. People hate change, and it’s a fair bet that any time you modify a piece of software, website, magazine format, newspaper layout or anything else some of the people involved won’t like it. I understand that. What I don’t understand is Facebook’s implementation. They ARE one of the two top Social Media platforms in the WORLD, and they don’t bother to ask what their changes should look like, or even notify anyone that a change is pending? They are going to wait until a million, 5 million, or whatever the magic number of disgruntled users is and then make a tweak to placate them?

Comcast has had over 40 years to become a bloated corporate entity that doesn’t care about the individual. Has Facebook managed to accomplish the same thing in a mere 6 years? Maybe this article should be titled “Facebook Won’t Make You Suck Less. Ask Facebook”.

Is there any hope? Can companies learn to communicate communicate with users and make good decisions. Honestly, if Facebook can’t do it, how can anyone?

Facebook changes home page to Live Feed and News Feed. Users React.

Facebook has done it again. Made random unsolicited changes without notifying anyone. The home page, which previously showed a filter feed of all your friends’ posts and activities, has become the “News Feed” consisting only of those posts that Facebook thinks you might be interested in. Another link goes to the “Live Feed” page, which is the full feed.

This change, which may seem trivial to you who don’t use Facebook on a regular basis, is quite irritating. Inherently there are two problems. First, Facebook obviously doesn’t know what I’m interested in. In fact, some of the posts I’m most interested in are those that could be determined ‘unpopular’ because they are friends of mine who don’t post on a regular basis. These are the people I really want to keep up with. Second, the home page functionality constantly keeps changing. It just always seems to be in flux, and that can be irritating.

We all appreciate companies that are actively improving their sites and making changes as needed, but there also needs to be some continuity and consistency. When you have 300 million regular users, it’s in your best interest not to make them angry, but that’s exactly what they have done. Again, in what has become a regular occurrence, Facebook users are joining protest groups and complaining loudly.

Facebook needs to find a way of rolling out these changes in a more controlled manner. When you have an app that 300 million people use, you can’t just make changes willy nilly and expect everyone to just go along with it. It’s poor project management, and poor customer service.

RE Facebook Redesign Sees Dead People